The other day, I was talking to a friend about the MARY-ANN&CO website and brand, as she was asking me a bunch of questions that I was surprised she didn’t already know the answers to. We have been friends since forever and she was one of the very first people I had talked to about the idea of creating my own website. During our conversation, I realised that she had basically interviewed me and managed to make me think about things I had never thought of before – I had just experienced my very first Q&A session.
Inspired by our conversation, I felt like it would be a great idea if I shared some of the questions and answers with you, my LinkedIn readers, as I’m sure they will probably give you an insight into why and how MARY-ANN&CO was ‘born’.
Q & A :
Q1. What is MARY-ANN&CO?
MARY-ANN&CO is a small creative business that was originally founded by myself in January 2014. I came up with the idea to set up my own website and share with the world my passion for photography. Once the website was set-up and finalised, it served a very simple purpose – it was simply an online platform for me to present my digital photography portfolio.
Of course, since then things have changed a lot. Over time I realised that creativity is much more fun and interesting when it takes place within a group of people and that it shouldn’t always be a solo activity. Albert Einstein wisely said, ‘Creativity is contagious – Pass it on’ and indeed, at least for me, passing on my thoughts and ideas about things I am passionate about, is now unavoidable.
Today MARY-ANN&CO is made up of a team of innovative individuals that I have personally selected to work with, based on their unique creative and technical skills. Together we produce beautiful images, visuals, and content that is inspiring and attractive to the eye.
Q2. What do you specialise in?
I’m not sure if we are ‘experts’ yet, but I guess you could say we focus on four main areas:
As I mentioned, everything started with Photography, which is still the foundation of MARY-ANN&CO. Although we have been involved in multiple photo shoots and photography projects in the past, we don’t really view Photography as a single service that we offer, but rather as a way of life that we all have in common. I personally carry my camera everywhere and I am always on the lookout for that perfect shot. Our favourite images can be found in the Photography section of the MARY-ANN&CO website. I feel like this section reveals our passion for capturing the diversity of the world through the portraits of its people, but also shows how much we enjoy photographing interesting landscapes that we come across during our travels. Generally speaking, through photography we hope to exchange ideas, get creative and show others the world from our perspective 🙂
Our blog comes hand in hand with our photography and is our favourite online space to keep track of our thoughts, share our ideas and talk about our experiences. Our Blog provides our readers with interesting, practical and useful information about Photography, Culture, Art, Travel, Personal Development and even reviews of inspiring ‘must-read’ books.
A fairly recent project that we started working on is one that involves the young and aspiring entrepreneurs living and working in Cyprus. These people have taken the time to share their stories and creative ideas with MARY-ANN&CO and tell us about what it takes to start-up a small but profitable business. Every month we conduct interviews with new, young entrepreneurs and we find out more about their business ideas and plans, as well as discuss what they believe makes a successful entrepreneur. Each of these young entrepreneurs has proved that they possess the ability and necessary skills to start-up and/or successfully run small businesses in Cyprus, hence why we chose to interview them and write about their unique stories and experiences on the Entrepreneurs section of our website.
Just this month, we launched our very own E-Shop on Etsy.com. We have uploaded some of our favourite Digital Prints and Posters that are for sale in 4 different sizes. For now, I can’t tell you much about how well this will perform, but we are very optimistic and we are putting a lot of effort into the quality of the products for sale, our Social media strategy and the ways that we plan to promote ourselves in the E-Commerce world. Definitely, a lot to learn.
Q3. What inspired you to name your website MARY-ANN&CO?
Well, I went through quite a few names until I finally felt like MARY-ANN&CO was the right one. I wanted to add the ‘&CO’ part, as this is the part that truly reveals the original business idea and explains the business model I came up with.
MARY-ANN&CO shows that the whole brand and concept is not focused around a single person but in fact a group of people. Although it is simple and self-explanatory, it represents all the things we have been working as a TEAM and all the things we want to be doing together in the future. I strongly believe that success is never the result of the work and effort of just one person, it is the result of teamwork. Therefore it was really important for me that this was reflected in our name. All we do (whether it is the photography, the blogs or the interviews), requires the participation of more than just one person. Therefore COllaboration and COoperation are very important parts of how our business works. To find more about the team you can visit the website’s ABOUT section.
Q4. How do you get people to participate in your projects and be part of the MARY-ANN&CO concept?
This is where the ‘business skills’ come in! I basically approach people in different ways, depending on how keen they are to get involved and what best way for us to collaborate is. A lot of my ‘partners’ (as I like to call them), are on the other side of the world. They are the ones that I usually work with on a ‘freelance’ basis where we basically work on specific projects every once in a while, and exchange most of our ideas online. Things tend to become more ‘3D’ in the scenarios when I am looking for models to participate in a photo shoot, or when approaching young business owners for an interview about their businesses.
There are cases as well when we work with ‘external’ businesses. For example, recently I worked with the Cyprus Sunday Mail in order to get an article published. The article is about a Cypriot Restaurant owner I met in San Francisco. His story did not only impress me but also the Daily Mail editor who was kind enough to dedicate a whole page for the article.
I guess you could say I’m an empathetic person, so I can tell what will work and what won’t when it comes to making business proposals to potential new partners. Honesty plays a big part when trying to make a ‘deal’ with someone, as you need to gain their trust by clearly explaining what you are envisioning and why exactly you are approaching the person in the first place. Most importantly, you need to make sure to mention how they will also benefit from the final results. Most of the time our collaborations are win-win situations, so you just have to figure out what ‘winning’ looks like to them. The rest is easy after that 😉
Q5. Lastly, what do you think separates you from the rest?
When exploring the MARY-ANN&CO website, you can expect everything that attracts the eye and captures the soul. Every photograph found on our website actually belongs to MARY-ANN&CO, it has been taken for a reason and has a message to give. Every blog that has been written, was written with the hope to inspire others and share only honest information and thoughts that come from the heart. We really love what we do and we do not want to appear pretentious in any way. We welcome interaction and we love to exchange opinions and ideas.
We work really hard to make our website a source of inspiration and I think this shows! With our beautiful portraits of interesting people, stunning photographs of locations from all over the world and unique content, our aim is to mesmerize everyone who comes across www.maryannandco.com 🙂